Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace

The Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace is the DPRK’s version of a community center. It’s located in the southwest of Pyongyang, off of Kwangbok street. Created in May of 1989 to function as an after school academy. It offers a variety of classes and recreational activities within its 6 floors and hundreds of rooms to maximum of 10,000 children a day. The palace is managed by the Korean Youth Corp. Thousands of children across the nation join the Corp if they have a strong desire to learn about the Juche ideology, or if they have a set of talents the Corp deems valuable. From ages 9-15 students in the Young Pioneer Corps, a subsection of the Korean Youth Corp, are free to use the facilities in the palace, before they graduate into a league for older youth. “Children are the king of the country,” is the slogan here, and they are treated like royalty as well. These children are the vanguard of the Worker’s Party of Korea so they receive the best instruction on the variety of classes. Ballet, calligraphy, music, embroidery, and even computer classes, are all available for children to hone their craft. The recreational facilities also available to the students include basketball and volleyball courts, and a pool with varying heights of diving boards. A massive 2,000 seat theater that showcases the performances of the children for the locals and tourists, is also located within. The building has a grand exterior  complete with 2 fountains, 1 of which reaches 100 meters into  the sky. The architecture of the palace was designed in a U-shape to signify a mother’s warm embrace, something that may remind these children of home.